First RAGBRAI Memories

The 1994 Double Loop question caught my eye and evoked a bit of nostalgia. 94 was my first RAGBRAI and I remember absolutely nothing about the double loop. However that day is etched in my mind as clearly as if it were yesterday.

My older brother had ridden every RAGBRAI since the second year. Even though I had done considerable biking in Colorado I hadn’t seen fit to return to my home state and ride with him. That is until 94 when it became clear that the opportunity to join him on RAGBRAI was rapidly fading. The first few days of that year don’t evoke many memories – other than to remember that I was somewhat unimpressed by the lack of any good long stretches of “good riding” (was used to Colorado riding where it can be 25, 30 or even 40 miles between towns). Having to slow down, get off my bike and walk through a small town every 10 or so miles was really beginning to bug me. To say the least I was unimpressed with RAGBRAI.

That all changed on the Double loop Wednesday. I was just west of Madrid starting the climb out of the Des Moines river valley when I began to hear music from somewhere (perhaps 1/4 mile) up ahead. Don’t even remember what kind of music but I do remember thinking it is pretty darn loud – someone’s got a heck of a big boombox set up by the roadside. As music can make you do I soon began peddling to the beat and I found myself rapidly closing in on the mystery source of the tunes. As I rounded the last curve the volume intensified – close to rock concert levels – but try as hard as I could I did not see anything set up along the road. It was at that point that I realized that the source was not confined to the roadside – it was mobile! A bit more peddling brought me up to bike fitted out with what had to have been the remnants of 60’s hi-fi system and powered by (not one but 2) 12 volt car batteries!! Not only that, there were other bikes nearby equipped with odd paraphernalia – a grill among other things. That was my introduction to the BAD BOYS and I realized that RAGBRAI is not an ordinary ride. It was then that I was impressed. RAGBRAI truly was something very special and yes, often very different.

That’s my First RAGBRAI Memory. Anyone else care to share theirs?

18 Replies

hnschipper, August 16, 2020 at 4:56 pm

My first RAGBRAI was 1998. My friend and I grew up in Iowa and had always seem RAGBRAI on the news. We were in college and one day decided just to go do it. We bought $80 mountain bikes at Wal-Mart (it was all we could afford as poor college students.) We were so naive. We had hardly any training miles under our belts. The first day, we applied sunblock when we left and didn’t reapply at all. We fried (my friend much worse than me.) Free ice cream in LeMars! Our tent blew away one night because we didn’t take it down. We found it a block away. There was a huge hill that year. I can’t remember what day it was. Our motto was ride as far as we can up the hill and we have to walk, we have to walk. We didn’t make it very far up the hill. 🙂 We quickly realized that the type of bike did make a difference on RAGBRAI.

#1322934

T. Gap Woo, August 16, 2020 at 7:08 pm

My first Ragbrai was in 2013, from Council Bluffs to Fort Madison. I remember back in 2009 making a promise to Daddy Woo that I would do something that no one in the family had ever done before, something that no one would ever think of doing. Daddy Woo passed away about a week before Ragbrai 2009.

It took me some time to figure out what to do, but then I remembered hearing about Ragbrai several years previously. After training all winter and spring of 2013, I embarked on my first Ragbrai. I pedaled every blessed mile of the route, sweating buckets under the Iowa sun.

On the last day, I recall seeing the “Welcome to Fort Madison” sign on the edge of the road. Suddenly overcome with emotion, I thought, “I did it, Daddy Woo! I did it!” With tears streaming past my ears, I flew down the hill, zig-zagged through the approach to the river and waited for two freight trains to pass, before dipping my tire.

I still get goosebumps thinking about that experience.

See you along the I-O-Way in 2021.

#1322940

Jboz, August 17, 2020 at 7:36 am

In 2000 I was working in a corporate office in Indianapolis. One day we had an afternoon community service project at a food bank so we were encouraged to wear tee-shirts and jeans that day. A coworker from Iowa was wearing a tee-shirt with a very strange word on it so I asked her what it was. She told me about a cross-Iowa bike ride. My first thought was: why would anyone take a week off to do that? Plus, Mrs Boz and I had two very young sons at the time, so I wasn’t in a position to leave my family alone for 9 days. But even though the idea seemed crazy to me, I’ve always been kind of crazy anyway so I tucked it away in my brain.

Fast forward to 2011 and my oldest son, then 12 years old was writing a homework paper on “bucket lists” and he asked me what was on mine. I had been so busy climbing the corporate ladder I hadn’t really thought about such things, but I reached into that compartment of my brain to answer him and I found RAGBRAI sitting in there. He asked “so, why haven’t you done that one yet?”. I told him I didn’t have anyone who would want to ride it with…to which he responded “maybe we should ride it together”. I was 65 lbs overweight at the time, and he was a 12 year old kid whose cycling experience was riding his crappy bike around the neighborhood. But we started training and set a goal for July 2012. Not a great year for an out of shape 50 something and a 13 year old kid to attempt this because the conditions were brutal, but we had an absolute blast.

I’ve ridden a total of 5 RAGBRAIs since then (2012, 2014, 2017, 2018 & last year), and he’s done 4. He also did a self-supported 1300 mile trip from Maine to Michigan, and a few other smaller multi-day tours. We are both totally hooked now, and looking forward to 2021 which will be his first one where he can legally hit the beer tents 🙂

#1322953

Amanda, August 17, 2020 at 2:38 pm

1999 – my First RAGBRAI
RAGBRAI 1998 went through LeMars and my friend, Donna was there. She talked to me that next day saying we MUST do RAGBRAI next year. We rode a couple times in August. I was riding my son’s beat up WalMart bike and Donna had her sisters. We were determined and I did buy a Raleigh Hybrid in October. We joined a club to find out how on earth we were going to make it across Iowa. Then Spring came and we started training. At lunch, we would change clothes and go for a short ride. Had to be back and in our work clothes in our ½ hour lunch time. I think we did 2 miles… We did this for a few weeks and figured we got this! We did train more but of course, not enough. We had no idea what we were in for. That was one of the hottest RAGBRAI ever… until 2012, but that is another story. We thought sleeping in houses would be the way to go and actually found housing in most of the over night towns. We didn’t take into account that our support vehicle could be across town some nights. It was. Every night. We packed clothes for the next day and rode to our over nights and then in the morning, back to our Support Vehicle with our dirty clothes. We did camp twice with our team. I had a tiny 1 person tent with a blow up mattress that my kids used in the pool. We were always the last ones in out of our group and we weren’t having fun out on the route. We struggled. On Thursday we got to Decorah and ended up staying at the college. Luckily, one of the college buildings were open so we snuck in with about 50 other hot, stinky riders. I slept under a table and someone stepped on my leg about 2 in the morning. We decided this was enough and called Donna’s husband to come and get us. Which he did. We got home and I slept for 2 days. It was so horrible that I told my neighbors I would never do that again! Well, luckily the horrible parts of RAGBRAI faded away and we went the next year, and the next. 2020 would have been my 21st RAGBRAI. I have learned alot in all those years and am planning to go until I can’t go anymore! I am so glad I went the next year after my debacle of 1999! Now I wish I would have started going sooner but I didn’t! Can’t wait until 2021!
Oh and I did become the official Princess of RAGBRAI in 2001.

#1322976

David Strahl, August 18, 2020 at 9:00 pm

I remember my first RAGBRAI like it was yesterday, it is something like feeling a turning point in your life. In 2005 I trained very hard and read everything I could to prepare for the ride. While I made several decisions that I did not repeat in future years, like taking a CamelBak, completely unnecessary plus it made me so much hotter than I was already. I met up with a couple of other rookies in our charter and we had a fantastic experience including a shower in a local’s home, completely unexpected. However, that gave me the up close experience of one of the main reasons I have come back each year since, the people of Iowa, they are truly unexpectedly friendly and encouraging. The first night I could not fathom the massiveness of the number of tents and people with the single focus of riding bikes. The heat that first day was well over 100 degrees and the free ice cream in LeMars was a nice treat. After the terrible storms moved through in Sheldon the aftermath was enormous to so many tents. We were ordered out of our campsite and stayed in a church on the pews for the evening with the air conditioning at max level. Luckily after the storm the weather was perfect the rest of the week, expect for the century day which had a massive wind from the north which pushed us south at an amazing pace. Unfortunately we had to ride back into this howling wind to return back to the main route. There were only three of us in a pace line into the wind that did not see a soul until the last 10 miles or so when we finally found others to join into a longer pace line. A real life saver to find some other riders. The rest of the week was the first exposure to Mr. Porkchop and Beeckmans. At the finish in Guttenburg I was so overwhelmed with the accomplishment and the fact that I had pushed myself and succeeded. I was asked once I returned home if I would do it again and I was non-committed and tried to explain the attraction to non-riders and they could just not get it. So I have been on 15 rides non-stop until 2020 which would have been my 16th. Plan to get my 16th crossing next year. With each year I learn something new to apply the next year. I renew my RAGBRAI friendships annually and gives me something to train for and look forward to each summer, even if the weather is not always the best.

#1322990

KenH, August 19, 2020 at 8:50 am

My cycling career started in the 1950’s on the gravel driveway of my grandfather’s farm. My frugal father had bought me an old 26″ adult bike “that I would grow into”. It was just barely capable of being adjusted for my size so that I did not need blocks on the pedals or training wheels either. I learned to ride in about 15 minutes using the classic dad running alongside holding you up method. You know, the one where after 14 minutes of intense study you suddenly find yourself amazed at how hard your dad can run. Dad? DAAAD?!?! HEY, I CAN RIDE A BIKE!!

I rode a lot over my school years, like the typical small town kid of that era. At one point my father broke his frugal style enough to buy us new 3 speed, English bikes! My first cross country riding experience was riding that bike to the town next door which had a hobby shop. I was introduced to the art of evading farm dogs. One time I rode into a cloud of bugs near the top of a hill and as I started down I realized, to my horror, that I was riding in a swarm of bees. Aided by gravity I was able to ride fast enough to actually splatter one of them against my glasses! But the bees paid me no attention. They were just honeybees looking for a new spot to build a hive, not murder hornets.

I rode a lot though high school and college. I even got a new 10 speed “racing bike” when I graduated and got a job. My riding tapered off however and faded away over the years. I never connected with a bike club, I wish I had. I live in suburban Chicago, that would have been easy to do. But I was pretty much a loner back then, I just didn’t do that sort of thing. I was a junior in college when the first RAGBRAI was ridden. I would not so much as hear of it until 2011.

In 2008 I had not ridden in years. My wife and I were doing a lot of walking, the only form of exercise for either of us. I was walking to the train station every morning and taking the train almost to work. My employer had a shuttle bus that would take us between the station and work. Life was good. Then they canceled the shuttle. One of my fellow train riders was an avid cyclist. He was unusual in that he was doing field engineering installation work of two way radio systems for a large midwestern electronics firm — with a degree in theater arts! But he also rode a folding bike and as we were discussing life after the shuttle bus he told me that the commuter rail service in this area allowed folding bikes on rush hour trains.

So I got a folder. And started riding it weekends too. It is a nice bike but not optimum for the longer and longer rides I was taking. So I got a regular bike. And it was only a few months of riding that before I got hit by a car, or something. I can’t tell you exactly what happened but I woke up in a hospital bed the Saturday before Easter of 2010 and even to this day I cannot remember a single thing about the accident due to the severe concussion that I sustained. Having fallen off the horse so to speak I was determined to get back on as soon as possible. And I did, and I started reading more and more about a thing called a “century”. So I resolved to do one.

Spring of 2011 rolled around and I downloaded a training plan and trained to do a century. Got a bad saddle sore on my final 80 mile training ride the weekend before. Used every potion known to man and woman to treat it (women were particularly helpful because, sexist or not, they are more familiar with treating diaper rash). I became familiar with “chamois cream”. And I rode that century the next weekend. I bonked at about 70 miles, first time for that, rested for over an hour at the last rest stop, and I finished the last 30 miles feeling pretty good.

A few weeks later I made the “mistake” of telling a friend that I had just ridden a century. Mind you this was a friend who like me had not ridden a bike in years.

His response was “Dude, we have got to ride RAGBRAI!”

My response was “Huh, what’s a RAGBRAI?”

He only knew about it because a mutual friend of ours had ridden one day of it a couple of years before with his brother in law. I really wasn’t that interested in the idea but for a friend I would consider it. We hatched a plan to ride three days of RAGBRAI XL and managed to talk another friend into driving support. We arrived in Marshaltown on the fated day in 2012, parked the motorhome in the designated campground and were almost immediately chased out of it to shelter from the storm that anyone who was there will remember that night. We were sitting in the shelter building as the storm raged and I am looking at the construction of what was basically a pole barn, a large tin shed, thinking “If we get hit by any serious wind we would have been a LOT safer in the motorhome!”

THAT is my very first memory of RAGBRAI. Obviously we all survived.

The next day we get ready to ride, saddle up, and head out. It was intoxicating from the get go to join that mass of humanity pedaling down the streets of Marshalltown. And then after a few hundred yards we had to stop to attend to something one of us had forgotten to do on their bike. This was something we would do at least half a dozen times in the first mile or two before we all got squared away and were ready to ride for the day.

NEWBIES!

But it was a really nice ride after that. It had been beastly hot up until then, I hear, and the heat moved out with the storm so the ride we three had was just glorious really. We quickly got acclimated to RAGBRAI culture and just as quickly identified our favorite food vendors. We had a grand time. It was over too soon, it always is and doing only three days made it end even quicker. On the ride back home the other two expressed an interest in doing two or three days next year. “NO!”, I said. “I want to do the whole thing.”

I was hooked.

I don’t know why, it is partially unexplainable. Every year you must have a dozen if not a hundred moments when you swear to yourself that you will NEVER do this again. And then you have thousands of moments when you can’t believe how much fun this is. With time, sometimes it takes only 10 minutes, the bad times just become good stories to tell. The good times remain. The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of God. Occasionally we can see that, most of the time it is a well hidden truth. RAGBRAI is the week where we see that hundreds of times every day. THIS is what we could be like all year around.

If only we tried.

#1323002

LawnchairMan, August 19, 2020 at 9:43 pm

In 1973 I was moving from Ames to Sioux City to go to Western Iowa Tech. I had been riding a Schwinn Continental around Ames and occasionally to Ledges Park. I decided to move all but my bike and camping gear to Sioux City then hitch back to Ames. Solo and completely self-contained, I was riding west to Sioux City while Donald Kaul and John Karras were heading east. By the way, although I was 22, I didn’t know that I could improve my physical abilities with practice. I thought that whatever speed I was born with was all I could ever do. So, I was happy rolling along at about ten miles per hour. I did eighty miles the first day only to get thoroughly drenched in a rainstorm that night. I made it to Sioux City two days later and then found out about The Great Six-Day Bicycle Ride from the paper.
I remember reading how at a stop Donald Kaul lost his balance and couldn’t unclip fast enough to stop his fall. He didn’t care if he grabbed a child or a little old lady for support. At the time I thought there was no way I would ever do Ragbrai myself.
2007 was my first Ragbrai and I was doing it solo. Now living in Las Vegas, it was a long drive to get back to Iowa, but my folks were still there and it was a good excuse to visit. I had no idea what I was getting into. I wasn’t sure if I could do the whole thing. My Dad said he envied my adventure. Coming from a man who built a pontoon boat and had traveled extensively I took it as a great compliment.
It was all new to me. I thought there would be a start time, and hung around a while even when ready. I started in the thick of it at 0630 and was amazed at the number of bikes: two riders to my right and three to my left for the first three miles. I’d never seen so many bikes. By that time I could ride faster, so I felt hemmed-in. The first two days had strong headwinds. The second day century had a northern leg where I finally had a tailwind. Getting to the overnight town I got lost following the wrong blue signs. I couldn’t tell which directions were which because it was about noon and there were no mountains on the horizon for reference. Fortunately, Bob and Nicole Brancel came to my rescue at the water park and lead me to camp.
Through the week I loved the food. I enjoyed Mr. Porkchop chops, and Beekman’s, and Gramma’s pies were fantastic!
I was so proud when I finished the week. I had done it! 500 miles! I had earned the bragging rights! I’ve completed five more Ragbrai’s, but there was something about that first adventure that will never be topped!

But I’m still looking forward to 2021!

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by LawnchairMan.

#1323019

“Bicycle Bill”, August 20, 2020 at 4:37 am

First of all, let me say that I am a verified and certified old fart.  My first RAGBRAI was ‘way back in 1978.  I was 23 years old and had been ‘seriously’ cycling since 1972.  Living in Wisconsin, I had already heard about RAGBRAI as someone had come to one of our club’s fall century rides wearing a T-shirt from SAGBRAI (the ‘Second Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa’).  I immediately decided that I didn’t care what I had to do or who I had to do it to, but sometime, somehow, I was going to ride RAGBRAI at least once.  But again, since I lived in Wisconsin (and at that time the DM Register wasn’t available here), by the time the next spring came along I had pretty much forgotten about it.

Well, in the summer of 1977 I was checking the TV Guide and saw a listing for a program titled “The Great American Bike Ride” — on the Mason City PBS channel, I think.  Assuming it was going to be about “Bikecentennial” (the organization in Missoula MT, now known as Adventure Cycling) and their cross-country trek in 1976 to celebrate the nation’s bicentennial I tuned in, only to find myself watching an hour-long documentary about the 1976 version of RAGBRAI.  It was, unfortunately, too late to get a pass or time off to go on the 1977 ride (which ended up in Lansing), but since Lansing was less than 40 miles from La Crosse I got a ride to Decorah and joined the crowd to ride into Lansing with the group the last day.  Needless to say, I was hooked like a hungry trout rising to a perfectly-placed dry fly!

Since by then I had learned that the only way to get one of the (then) free baggage tags to be allowed to schlep your gear onto the trucks provided by the Register was to be among the first to ask for them once the route was announced in the spring, I found a source for the DM newspaper so that, when the announcement came, I could do my damnedest to make sure I got one.  But then, the heavens opened up and good fortune smiled on me…

Fast forward to October 1977.  It was the weekend of Oktoberfest-USA in La Crosse WI (our city’s major fall festival — surely you’ve heard of it?), and at that time I was working in a smaller, mom-and-pop-type motel in La Crosse WI as the night desk clerk.  As I said, we — along with literally every other motel within a 50-mile radius — was booked solid (we did have a couple of open rooms, but they were reserved on an ‘all-night’ hold and guaranteed with a credit card, so we would still get paid even if the party was a no-show), when who should walk in sometime between midnight and 2:00 AM?  None other than JOHN KARRAS — “Papa RAGBRAI” himself!! — and he was looking for a room.

I can go into the details now, since the statute of limitations has run out (and the motel has been gone for at least twenty years anyway).  After confirming that he was indeed the John Karras who was the co-founder of my bucket-list bike ride, we started talking turkey.  Let’s just say that if word of what happened had gotten out back then it would probably have been known as “RAGBRAIgate”, but once it was all over, one of the “guaranteed” room reservations had inexplicably gotten lost; John got a room (and at a very attractive price, considering); and I got John’s personal guarantee that if I wrote to him in the spring he himself would see to it that I received a baggage tag for the 1978 version of RAGBRAI.

So come April 1978; I wrote to John and reminded him of our conversation the previous October.  True to his word, I received by return mail one of the most in-demand items known to cycling at that time.  And so, on July 30 1978, I was in Sioux City Iowa, along with roughly 5000 others, to pedal off on the cross-state trek through Storm Lake, Humboldt, Iowa Falls, Vinton, Mount Vernon, and Maquoketa to Clinton.  And even now, more than fifty years later, I can still rattle off those overnight towns from memory …. something I CANNOT do for any of the other 20 RAGBRAIs that I participated in between 1978 and 2000.

Sure, there were other memories made on the ride itself besides just the litany of the overnight towns (and many of the in-between spots), and many of them are still vivid, but they all pale into insignificance in comparison to the story of HOW I got to go on my first RAGBRAI.
-“BB”-

#1323022

cyduke, August 20, 2020 at 9:09 am

@Bicycle Bill, I take it you’ve ridden the old Oktoberfest 100 then? I was only able to do it 3 or 4 times I was living in Ames at the time of riding it, and it’s always been one of my favorite rides. I wish it was still going on. I live in Madison and keep thinking about going up there in the fall to do my own 100 as I still have my maps.

#1323025

Jboz, August 20, 2020 at 12:18 pm

This is a nice thread, and I hope more people post their first RAGBRAI memories here. I’m really enjoying reading about everyone’s experiences and their first “Holy ____, this is awesome!” moments. All my RAGBRAI’s were great fun, but there is nothing like that very first WOW realization of what it’s all about. Reading about others brings it all back for me. I guess it’s like that first love, first kiss, or first hmmm whatever….it’s true when they say there is nothing quite like the first time.

#1323037

Alan_50501, August 20, 2020 at 2:48 pm

My first ragbrai was just 1 day in 2015 when ragbrai came to fort dodge… wife and I joined and rode to eldora on 2 mountain bikes…I was ready to continue on but wife had to work next day..In 2016 we both went out and brought 2 new trek road bjkes…Every year since 2015 we have done ragbrai and look forward to it every year.. I have had an interest in ragbrai for a long time but figured it was hard and you have to be in shape…

#1323042

swiifg, August 20, 2020 at 5:02 pm

I, like so many others, grew up in Iowa and had moved out of state in 1979 – my 1st job after college. Fast forward to 2013 – I am sitting on my front porch reviewing the RAGBRAI ride as it travels through the area of the state I call home. From that point on I wanted to do “just 1 day”. My sister agreed to accompany me in 2014 and we did just that – 1 day – Okoboji to Emmetsburg (it was the shortest day of the week so I was hopeful I could make it). I was 55 and my sister was 60. After riding nearly 10 miles from our host to the route, my confidence started to wane. That’s almost 25% more riding than I had planned on. I hadn’t ridden a bike much at all since I was a kid on the farm – what had I gotten myself into?

We made it! And… I knew I just had to go back and try a whole week – which I did in 2015. Riding a step through 7 speed Trek, I hooked up with a “team” and headed out. It was unbelievable! I took Friday afternoon off and was somewhat discouraged against riding on Saturday due to the team needing to meet time constraints to get headed back to Des Moines. My stubborn nature disregarded that advice and I took off with a goal in mind on Saturday morning. I didn’t stop for much other than fuel and fluid and tried to pick up my average 10-12 mph pace to meet the travel deadline.

Once I reached the end of the route and dipped my tire I had, as others have shared, an emotional moment – I had finished my 1st RAGBRAI. Granted, I hadn’t ridden each mile of the stated route but I had ridden an equivalent number of miles with the extra distance to our host homes and such.

So I headed off to meet the team and was so proud of myself when I was the first member of the group to arrive with the exception of the riders who had done the century earlier in the week. I don’t think I stopped talking about RAGBRAI for at least a month once I got home. I returned and rode 2016, 2017, and 2018. I sure hope to get back to ride again in 2021 or 2022.

#1323047

“Bicycle Bill”, August 20, 2020 at 7:01 pm

to cyduke:
No, I never got to ride the Oktoberfest 100 … at least not on the day of the event.  That is the penalty one must pay for being a member of the club hosting the ride and — depending on which specific year you’re talking about — being either the dude driving the sagwagon, the guy at one of the checkpoints/rest stops, or (in later years) the guy at the park start/finish trying to keep the whole thing running smoothly … which can be worse than trying to juggle chainsaws, herd cats, or steer an avalanche at times.
-“BB”-

#1323049

Dizzy, August 21, 2020 at 6:18 am

I couldn’t figure out how to ride a bike until I was 9yo.
After that, long-distance cycling was part of my daily life until I got a driver’s license.
When returning home from military service, I bought a car and a 10-speed.
Then came college, then career, then spouse, then children…
I sold my bike for money.

The day came when my 25yo daughter challenged me to ride a MS150.
I bought a bike, trained and met her challenge.
I again was hooked on long-distance cycling.

While riding the Great Allegheny Passage in 2010, a fellow cyclist told her tale of riding RAGBRAI.
I was giddy with excitement; hooked.
And I hadn’t even been there yet.

2012. RAGBRAI XL, my first; rolling out from a host-home on Day 1 into the blazing Iowa heat before sunrise, crying at the sight of the herd of blinking red taillights migrating across the plains.
Then again in 2014, ‘16, ’18 & ’19.
I cry on the morning of Day 1 every time.
I can’t help it. It’s so…RAGBRAI!

All the best, D

This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Dizzy.

#1323057

stuckinmizzou, August 21, 2020 at 4:47 pm

My first was 2003 – RAGBRAI was starting in Glenwood that year and since it was my hometown I decided I wanted to give it a go. I had moved to St. Louis so I joined the Bicycle Fun Club as the charter of choice. 2003 was also the year the e-cyclist group started on the RAGBRAI forums – I met Papa T on that forum and we all decided to meet up in Emerson as a meet-and-greet. Over the next couple RAGBRAIs I rode with the Burlington Bicycle Club and rode with my neighbors while pulling a camper. In 2006, I was looking for a new team and mentioned it to Papa T (who was with Team Brewhaha) – he said I should ride with them and asked me for contact information – we only knew each other by our forum handles. When I told him my last name, he asked me if I had any relatives in Macedonia, Iowa. I told him my Dad had grown up there. Long story short, we discovered that his grandmother and my great-grandmother were cousins! After telling my Dad about it, he showed me a picture of Papa T when he was about 2 years old (a long, long time ago!). I joined Team Brewhaha and rode with them from 2006 until 2018 – in 2019 I decided I had enough of putting up and taking down a tent every night and joined a group of friends and had an RV as our support – it was nice always having our own shower, bathroom and a bed! 🙂 So I have ridden RAGBRAI every year since 2003 – unfortunately 2020 wasn’t meant to be but our 2019 group rode the Mesabi Trail in Minnesota instead. Looking forward to hopefully be back on the road in 2021 (I have a RAGBRAI tattoo on my leg with each year I’ve ridden on it – thinking I should put a cross bones in place of the 2020 spot.)

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